For over a year now, Yotsuba&! fans have been agitating for the sixth volume of the adventures of the little green-haired girl, but the annoucement of its imminent release came from an unexpected quarter: Yen Press, which has taken over the license for volume 6 and subsequent volumes from ADV Manga. While the Yen Press booth was one of the busiest on the floor (possibly because they were giving away free copies of Yen+ magazine), publisher Kurt Hassler took a few minutes to talk to me about how Yen snagged the license and fill in a few more details about their plans for the books. (Incidentally, Kurt pronounces the title of the book as many of the cognoscenti do: Yot-su-BAH-to, with the last syllable coming from the Japanese word for “and.”)
MangaBlog: How did you know Yotsuba&! was available?
Kurt Hassler: We were contacted by ASCII Media Works, the Japanese publisher.
MB: Why were the rights available?
KH: I’m really not clear on what happened with the rights situation; all I knew was the rights were coming available. It was a book we were very familiar with, we had some huge fans in the office and I am a huge fan myself, so we jumped at the opportunity.
MB: When will volume 6 come out?
KH: September 2009
MB: Will it be different from the previous volumes?
KH: We’ll mimic the original design, the same way we do with Japanese books. I don’t remember if the original Japanese tankoubon had color pages, but if it does, we will have them too.
MB: Who will be the translator?
KH: Amy Forsythe. She did one of the earlier volumes, 1 or 2.
MB: And the previous volumes?
KH: I believe those rights are reverting, and I will talk to someone at ADV about possibly acquiring their materials. If we do not acquire it that way we will handle our own translation. Our primary concern initially was feeding the interest in getting the successive volumes out. Now that is done, we can discuss picking up the previous volumes.
MB: What’s special about Yotsuba&!?
KH: It’s very funny, the main character is unique, it’s a unique storyline, and the humor of it is sort of contagious, so I can’t say anything that reviewers or fans don’t already know.
MB: Will you run chapters from Yotsuba&! in Yen+ magazine?